Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offers corrective jaw surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) at our office in Amarillo, TX. Issues with bone structure, TMJ disorders, orthodontic issues, sleep apnea, and other conditions can all relate to the alignment of your jaw. When nonsurgical treatments fail to correct bite problems, orthognathic surgery can truly change a patient’s life by improving their ability to eat, speak, and breathe comfortably. Some patients find that corrective jaw surgery can also improve their overall appearance.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, like Dr. William Graves and Dr. Paul Wilkinson, are not just experts at dental surgery; they also undergo years of training to understand the facial structures and how to repair them. Our surgical team has years of experience performing oral and facial surgeries of all kinds, and reconstructive jaw surgery is one of our specialties.
Who needs orthognathic surgery?
Orthognathic surgery may be used to treat a variety of conditions, but it usually involves solving issues with bite alignment. Having one or more of the following symptoms or conditions may indicate the need for jaw surgery:
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
- Breathing problems or sleep apnea
- Excessive wear on the teeth
- A severe receding or protruding chin
- Difficulty closing your mouth or teeth fully
- Chronic jaw pain or TMJ (jaw joint) pain
- Difficulty opening your mouth all the way
If you notice one or more of the above symptoms, you may want to get checked by a dental professional. Sometimes nonsurgical treatments—like the use of a night guard or braces—can correct bite problems, but in other cases, surgery may be the best option.
Patients who choose to undergo orthognathic surgery often see a variety of benefits, such as improved jaw function, reduced pain, and sometimes even improved facial aesthetics.
Orthognathic Surgery Procedure
The entire treatment process usually spans several months and involves braces, surgery, and a recovery period. While this may seem long, patients suffering from jaw problems find that the benefits after they have recovered are well worth the wait. Below is a general outline of how most orthognathic surgery treatments go.
The exact procedure you undergo will depend on your specific situation—some patients may need to have their lower jaw repositioned, whereas others need alterations to their upper jaw and teeth. In either case, your oral surgeon will work with you and your orthodontist to produce the best results from treatment.
First, your orthodontist will prepare your teeth for their new alignment with braces. This can take several months before you are ready for your surgical procedure. Once your teeth are ready, your oral surgeon will be able to perform your jaw surgery.
You will come in for a consultation so that your surgeon can evaluate your situation and form a treatment plan well before your surgery date. If you have any questions about your procedure, you will have a chance to ask them during this appointment. You will also receive pre- and post-operative instructions to help you prepare for surgery.
At your surgical appointment, you will receive IV anesthesia, which will allow you to be unconscious throughout the procedure. After administering the anesthetic, your surgeon will separate the portion of the jaw that needs repositioning, then reattach it using tiny screws, wires, or plates. Oral surgeons use techniques that minimize scarring and produce the best cosmetic results. Once your procedure is over, you will rest until your anesthesia wears off.
There will be a recovery period of several weeks while the bone continues to heal. Usually, the first week or so is the most difficult; then things get much easier. A soft food diet will be necessary as your jaw heals. Your oral surgeon will provide you with post-operative instructions and a prescription for any medications you need to prepare you for your recovery process.
Orthognathic Surgery in Amarillo, TX
If you are in need of orthognathic surgery, Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is here to help. Our staff understands how debilitating it can be to have chronic jaw pain, and they love seeing the results patients receive from treatment. Our oral surgeons have hospital privileges at multiple local hospitals, so your procedure will be performed using the most reliable and advanced tools at our disposal. If you’d like to have an evaluation of your jaw, or if you want more information about jaw surgery, contact our office in Amarillo, TX, for more information. One of our staff members will be happy to assist you.